The Truth About Painting Dogs

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Curly, shaggy, and short-haired, there’s a trio of individuals out there who each embody a distinctive style thanks to a set of good genes and the likely help of a skilled groomer - or maybe just a really dedicated hair brusher (insert the game: Which Boy Band Did You Think of First? ). What unifies them is their affability, unconditional love for family, and their inherent philosophy that no snack is ever too small to feel maximum excitement.

When I was asked to paint the portraits of a beloved set of humans’ best friends, it should come as no surprise that I did not take the job lightly. I knew that when I attempted to create the likeness of an oat-hued mixed terrier, it couldn’t look like just any other oat-hued mixed terrier. No, it had to look like CHARLIE the oat-hued mixed terrier. I needed to paint in a way that was a few degrees away from a photographic resemblance while still carrying a likeness that could incite the reaction, “Oh my god, that’s my dog!”

To  try and do right by those on both the giving and the receiving end, I did my research. I searched high (thanks Google!) and I searched low (shout out to Instagram), to gain an acute sense of what each breed looks like as well as the colorings and markings that set apart each member of this particular fur-fam.

But let’s paws and rewind for just a moment. Truth be told, when my friend first asked me to take on this custom request, I felt nervous. My play-it-safe “professional” self was saying Don’t do it! You gotta under-promise and over-deliver! Meanwhile, my entrepreneurial, artsy self was saying Do it! You’ll figure it out as you go! Well, as you can probably guess, my latter self won. I responded to my friend with the assured exclamation that I’d be SO happy and honored to create this set. And that was that.

Cut to a couple weeks ago when my first adaptation of these pups onto wine glasses left me feeling quite unimpressed with myself. I hadn’t been certain how to start so I just DID.

There’s a science behind this I’m sure. Starting just for the sake of starting and moreover with the strong hunch that good ideas will surface from the willingness and need to make mistakes to learn from. And that’s how it happened really. I can’t exactly describe my first iteration of this curly haired retriever, mixed terrier, and german shepard but once I got these -- dare I say, “ruff“ drafts out of the way, I washed all the paint off the wine glasses and started anew. This time, with a sense a confidence and a much clearer image in my head.

Within a couple short hours, I had three dogs ready for adoption and what I’m envisioning will be really memorable wine pairings throughout the coming years.